New Greenlink Poetry Project is raising awareness and breaking stereotypes

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:33 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Hundreds of people in Greenville depend on daily public transportation. The reasons why each person rides the bus are unique. The Greenlink bus system teamed up with the city’s poet laureate to tell those stories through a new project.

“This is every day, for some people,” said Glenis Redmond, the City of Greenville Poet Laureate.

Next month, Jan LeMay will celebrate her 81st birthday. She moved to Greenville in 2020, riding the bus helped her get to know her new city.

“I just wanted to see the whole route, that’s what I did,” said LeMay.

A couple times a week she catches a ride with Greenlink for grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments and sometimes some recreational activities. Not only does she love riding, but she depends on the bus.

“People feel that all well, the bus is only for the homeless people, or only for people that work in fast food places or people that don’t have a car or people living in low-income apartments that can’t afford to have a car. And I think that’s a very very bad stigma,” said LeMay.

Greenlink and the Poet Laureate teamed up to help break those stigmas.

“Through poetry you can take the walls down for people to see, hey, your story is very much like my story,” said Redmond.

The Greenlink Poetry Project paired riders with poets, who then wrote poems based on their conversation. You’ll be able to see and read LeMay’s story and poems written for 6 other bus riders all around the theme –Why I Ride?

“What is the reason you ride? And a lot of it is necessity but it’s not always. And one of the goals was to alleviate or take away stereotypes that people have about bus riders or buses in general or public transportation,” said Redmond.

LeMay says she’s blessed to have the chance to tell her story and hopes to encourage more people to ride. Posters and flyers of the poems will be put on Greenlink buses and bus shelters starting this week. In the meantime, you can read all 7 poems online and listen to the poets recite them.